The customer journey is a wild landscape these days. People have so many options for educating their decision making process — from friends on social media and testimonials on a review site — to article mentions, or outlets we may not even be aware of yet. The customer controls their journey now more than ever before, but that doesn’t mean marketers can’t still have an impact.
Understanding the customer journey, especially the range of potential outlets and trajectories, puts the control back into the marketers’ hands. We must ensure that whatever journey our customer chooses, it’s one of convenience and positive reinforcement for our brands.
Take a look at some numbers that illustrate the importance of understanding the customer journey, and how we can best make that journey a positive one that leads to loyal customers.
Percentage of B2B decision making that is made before a call, email, or any entry into your lead tracking database. There are now so many ways to do online research and become educated on a potential purchase that consumers come to you armed with their decision nearly made. Understanding the available avenues and potential journeys a consumer will find themselves on, even if you don’t have control over it, will help marketers steer that journey in the right direction.
The ratio of customer-focused companies who use customer journey maps. The ability to track these different journeys allows marketers to address the touchpoints that are most critical in turning those consumers into loyal customers. Do you use a customer journey map? If not, consider that it would likely reveal some valuable information about your customer’s experience .
Percentage of the marketing budget of top-performing marketers allocated to customer retention and expansion efforts. Digital marketers are no longer focused on the front-end of the customer journey, before handing it over to salespeople. They’re now involved in every step. Consider how marketers can use touchpoints to enhance the experience post-purchase. This level of awareness allows us to build a loyal customer base that feels enthusiastic enough about our products to share this enthusiasm with their own communities. (Giving us free marketing in the long-run!)
Number of hours in a day the average customer spends on their smartphone, according to a mobile behavior report by Salesforce. That’s a lot of opportunities to rack up touchpoints, and plenty of different journeys those touchpoints can create. The possibilities presented by mobile usage must be a significant consideration in your marketing efforts. Consider the reviews, social media posts, and conversations that your potential customer may consume on their mobile device, prior to connecting directly with your brand. Are those touch points leading them to positive experiences with your brand?
Percentage of marketers surveyed by MediaPost who agreed with the statement, “Our customer experience is our brand.” This is a significant claim. With the explosion of potential touchpoints that inform the customer’s journey, the experience now lies in the hands of the customer. Which in turn, means your brand lies almost entirely in the hands of the customer. That’s a lot of control for customers to possess. But, understanding how these potential touchpoints come together is what allows marketers to steer that experience in the right direction. Customers may have control over which touchpoints they engage with, but you, as an informed marketer, have control over how those touchpoints impact their purchasing decision.
The customer journey may be increasingly difficult to control, but the opportunities for interaction and impact is increasing, giving us more options for making the right kind of impression for our brand. It’s all a matter of understanding the journey from the customer perspective, and adjusting our process accordingly.